Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016

Great Zimbabwe’s prosperity came from its position on the route between

the gold producing regions of the area and ports on the Mozambique

coast; over time it became the heart of an extensive commercial and

trading network. The main trading items ranged from gold, ivory, copper

and tin to cattle and cowrie shells. Imported items discovered in the ruins

have included glassware from Syria, a minted coin from Kilwa, and

assorted Persian and Chinese ceramics.


The period of prosperity at Great Zimbabwe continued until the mid-15th

century, when the city’s trading activity started to decline and its people

began to migrate elsewhere. The most common hypothesis to explain

the abandonment of the site is a shortage of food, pastures and natural

resources in Great Zimbabwe and its immediate surroundings. But the

precise cause remains unclear.

Great Zimbabwe is a fusion of manmade and natural beauty; a complex

of 12 groups of buildings spread over 80 stunning hectares of the

Mutirikwi valley. In the words of the Zimbabwean archaeologist and

art historian Peter Garlake, the site displays “an architecture that was

unparalleled elsewhere in Africa or beyond”.

The ruins are divided into three main architectural zones: the Hill

Complex, the Great Enclosure and the Valley Complex. The oldest, the

Hill Complex, was occupied from the ninth to the 13th centuries. Believed

to have been the spiritual and religious centre of the city, its ruins extend

some 100 metres by 45 metres.


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